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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 4, 2007 12:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: 1970 audience tapes

For anyone who might be interested, I thought I'd talk a little more about some of the lesser-known audience recordings of 1970 -

The Fillmore West shows of the year are generally not as exciting as the Fillmore East shows (aside from some extraordinary moments in the April and June runs, and the unique Eleven>Caution jam from 2-5-70) - but I think 2-8-70 is a very fine show. The circulating soundboard portion catches the end of Dark Star to the middle of Lovelight, but the aud tape sounds quite good and has it all; it's a typically lovely Star from early '70. (I wonder if the whole SBD is in the vault, since they used Smokestack on the box set.)
(The Fillmore West shows of August 18 & 19 were also caught on audience recordings which are OK for the time but not outstanding; the shows are decent, I'd probably give the edge to 8-18 due to the Man's World, Dancing, and the acoustic set.)

3-7-70 is a strong, high-energy show; if you haven't heard of it, it's because it's a noisy, incomplete aud tape with some terrible cuts - either the taper just didn't bring enough tape, or he was too wiped out to change the reels! (A lot of 1970 recordings suffer from this problem - some sadly cut out before the electric set even starts.) But although it's just an incomplete portion of a jam, I highly recommend you listen to just the five mind-blowing minutes of Not Fade Away here!

6-13-70 is a joyous, high-energy show, perhaps the earliest tape where the audience recording sounds better than the soundboard! I really like the sound on this one - unfortunately, only the SBD is available on the Archive, but if you can find the aud version, check it out!

10-23-70 is another great audience recording from the fall, with really deep sound; I don't think the show is too remarkable, but it does have one of the earliest Goin Down the Roads. (The only surviving earlier ones were October 10 & 11 - the 10th just an instrumental part - but those are poor recordings.)

11-20-70 is also one of the better audience recordings, with the band loud and clear; the show is strong, but the real treat comes at the end when Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady join the band for a series of rocking jams that are well worth hearing!

While I'm at it, I'll also say a few words about inferior-sounding shows that I happen to like...
4-24-70 is a recording that will definitely tax the ears of most people; in addition, the end-of-show jam is horribly lost as the reel runs out. But those who can tune their ears will be rewarded by one of the strongest Dark Stars of the year, and the last Eleven -

Only masochists can endure 5-8-70....the taper apparently put his mic on stage, in front of the bass amp, so it is horribly distorted and you have to "imagine" the music. Nevertheless - what a setlist! - Dark Star>Dancing, Good Loving - this was clearly one of the best shows. 5-7-70 is much more listenable, but is still a tinny/muddy-sounding tape recorded inside a gym. Stomping show, though, full of wonders for those with patient ears, including a stretched-out magical Lovelight with several intertwined thematic jams, as they often did that year.

I mentioned the poor-sounding audience tapes usually made in the Fillmore East, and the July run provides three good examples. 7-11-70 seems like a great show, with an extended Not Fade Away and Viola Lee that seem to go on forever, but is unfortunately buried beneath a noisy crowd and distant echo. 7-12-70 was one of my favorite shows of the year, but the recording is equally lousy: I recall the Man's World and Other One>Uncle>Other One>Dancing as being especially tremendous, but the show is not even available on the Archive. (7-10-70 does sound slightly better, and is there.)

11-11-70 is a wild, long show, with the first La Bamba in Good Lovin (I don't think they repeated this for 17 years!), and an hour-long series of jams with Jack Casady & Jorma Kaukonen; unfortunately the recording is pretty poor.

11-29-70 is not such a bad recording although it doesn't really soothe the ears either, I'd say above-average for 1970 with a loud, energetic band; it's a strong show, and particularly worth checking out for the 20-minute Good Lovin with a Pigpen rap, one of the first ones that showed where they would take this tune in 1971.

And with November, the era of the audience tape comes to an end....the band started taping themselves again in December in their California shows (where there weren't as many tapers as in the east), and in 1971 audience tapes become rather scarce, and mostly of really bad quality; the situation would stay that way until 1973. Interestingly, by December '70 their "1971 sound" was well in place, with sets composed mostly of short rocking songs and not much improvisation outside of The Other One and Good Lovin.....but that's another story.......

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Aug 4, 2007 5:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1970 audience tapes

Great post. Well presented.

In those days, audience taping was a clandestine affair, attempted with really piss poor equipment smuggled in backpacks or under coats--and often the mics were kept hidden in the same places. Fingers felt the cassettes or reels for time (watches helped), and there was no taper section, so what you heard was what you got.

Still, a great debt is owed to these pioneers whose tapes were holy grails if you could even get a copy--much less a high gen copy. There were a lot of fine shows in 1970, and any time you can find one, bury your prejudice against muffly, hissy audiences, get stoned, relax, and listen.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 4, 2007 7:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1970 audience tapes

Taping could be risky, too! On the 5-16-70 recording we can hear Sam Cutler shutting the tapers down; and during 12-31-70 one of the band directed a spotlight to a microphone so that taper could be busted.
Of course their attitudes were inconsistent; everyone remembers the moment during 8-6-71 when Weir tells the taper to move back in order to get a better recording! And of course, they didn't mind the FM broadcasts of 10-4-70 and many of the fall shows of '71.

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Poster: Street Pig Date: Aug 4, 2007 6:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1970 audience tapes

Your post reminded me of this show 10.23.70 and the taper notes, a good illustration, I would love those Mesc tabs!

DAT speed-corrected by David Gans
Various glitches edited out by CW

posted to abgd 11/2002

SBE's on all tracks except d2t03

Cary Wolfson's notes:

My friend Norm Sartorius and I had seen the Dead for the first time at the Fillmore West in April 1970 after driving cross-country in (of course) a VW microbus. This was the run where Miles Davis opened for them. We came back to Baltimore (where I grew up) babbling to friends but we didn't have anything to play for them except Live Dead and, when it first came out, Workingman's Dead. Then we heard that they were coming to Georgetown U. After work on a Friday we loaded up whoever would fit into Norm's VW bus and took off for D.C. The place (a big, very hot gym) was packed when we got there. At the 4-12-70 show I was leaning against the stage (right in front of Pig), so there was no way were going to be in the back bleachers. Besides, I had this new Sony TC-124 tape deck. So we wormed our way up the aisle to the front. They were actually trying to keep a fire aisle open across the front. We bribed the security guy with a hit of mescaline and he let us in. We ended up maybe 15 feet back from the stage. I stood there the whole night with my hand in the air. The New Riders played and Garcia joined them. I taped this, too, but trust me, you don't want to hear it. The sound was awful.

There was a long break, during which people passed water jugs up to the stage and some of the crew would fill them up with water and pass them back -- it was so hot and crowded. Finally, they got everything set up. The announcer says, "Once again, the Grateful Dead," which led one writer to speculate that maybe there was more to this show, but he was just referring to the Riders set with Jerry. It's a short show, but Wow! BTW, the guy making the most noise on the tape is NOT me, but this goofy guy who'd been on the California trip with us. Still, you can hear me say at one point, sarcastically, "You think they've got it on tonight?" and this guy respond, equally jokingly, "Maybe half-lit." Hey, we were all well-dosed and enjoying a Grateful Dead concert the way it was supposed to be.

As far as taping went, I really didn't know what the hell I was doing. This was way before Maxell XL-IIs came in vogue and I was using one no-name "assembled in Mexico" cassette and one Mallory Duratape (taping over the first Hot Tuna album). The TC-124 didn't have a pause button and, like other tapers of that era, I hit the stop button a lot between songs to save tape. In spite of that, this still sounds pretty damn good, even 32 years later. Supposedly there was a radio broadcast, but no copy of it has ever materialized.

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